Kings & queens

Features - Design/Build

It took Nelson Landscaping’s crews 1,500 man-hours to upgrade the landscaping at their client’s castle estate.

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April 26, 2021

Photos courtesy of Nelson’s Landscaping

Nelson Landscaping’s client wanted a look that made the property surrounding their castle appear that it had been around for centuries. “Everything in you wants to make a landscape pristine and uniform,” says Andy Nelson, founder/owner of the company, which is based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. “So you had to go against your instincts and really create something that worked for this client. Even down to paver pathways and trying to break those up in a way that made them look uneven and somewhat broken down as if they’ve been there for 400 years.”

1. It took 1,500 man-hours to complete the job and native grasses were used as an anchor for the landscape.

2. Taylor Junipers (tall slender Juniper trees) were used to give an evergreen look. The goal was to resemble what you would see in European landscape in olden times. Mass plantings of various grasses and perennials that had a “growing out in the wild” look like Russian sage, and lavender were used to obtain the look. Crews threw in a few horizontal and vertical junipers to make it look like a random tree or bush grew up while the castle was abandoned.

3. There’s also plenty of fun accessories to complement the castle like a draw bridge, dry creek riverbed to resemble a moat, fully-automated sprinkler system, boulder retaining walls, mortared stone edging, landscape lighting both on the house and built into the driveway which lights up at night, faux paver/chariot broken-down road to be made to look abandoned, and a custom boulder staircase.

4. The detached garage to the right of the house has what looks like an arched door that has a different stone than the house. “I wanted to make it look as if at some point this was a barn, and the door was rocked in at a later date,” said Scott Kilgo, landscape designer at Nelson Landscaping. “If this was a barn, there had to be some type of cobble drive leading up to the entrance. So, picking out the right paver was key.”

5. Explaining to the install crew to make the road look old was also a challenge. They had to put gaps between the pavers to make it look as if time had pushed them apart naturally over hundreds of years. “Use irregular shapes to build the shape of the road and space them apart as if parts of the road had disintegrated,” Kilgo says. “Once the guys got the concept, it fell into place.”